Screenshot from trailer of film on Barnes Foundation, The Art of the Steal
[CORRECTION: My original link to Knight’s piece mistakenly led to non Pulitzer-worthy CultureGrrl post instead (now fixed).]
In a highly important and perspicacious opinion piece, dated Apr. 25 but online now, the LA Times‘ art critic, Christopher Knight, ponders the Getty Museum’s revolving-door directorship, again vacant, rethinks the J. Paul Getty Trust’s problematic administrative structure and recommends rewriting the organizational chart.
The museum is still by far the Getty Trust’s largest program. But it
needs maximum flexibility, not leadership conflict. So, what should
happen now is obvious: Combine the Trust presidency and the museum
directorship into a single job. That would solidify the museum as the
primary endeavor—which is also what the late benefactor envisioned.
And wait a year to fill the newly combined post. Current Trust President
James Wood retires in 2012.
The Trust’s three other programs [Foundation, Research Institute, Conservation Institute] should be consolidated under the
museum’s direction. The existing program heads might not be thrilled
with that, but any structural tensions would dissipate over time.
Besides, deputies reporting to the museum director wouldn’t be much
different from program directors reporting to the Trust president now….
Full responsibility without full authority is a prescription for museum
failure. And that’s what has happened—repeatedly.
I hope that the Christopher Critique starts the ball rolling towards an overdue overhaul of the Getty Trust. And I hope that by providing the initial impetus, he gets named to receive next year’s Pulitzer Prize for criticism.
He’d richly deserve it.